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PRINTED PRINTEDPRINTED

SOLID-STATE DISKS: Safer Data, Quicker Startups

PRINTED SOLID-STATE DISKS: Safer Data, Quicker Startups THE FASTEST BROADBAND YET Does Your ISP Measure Up?
PRINTED SOLID-STATE DISKS: Safer Data, Quicker Startups THE FASTEST BROADBAND YET Does Your ISP Measure Up?

THE FASTEST BROADBAND YET

Does Your ISP Measure Up?

Startups THE FASTEST BROADBAND YET Does Your ISP Measure Up? ANTISPYWARE FOR THE LATEST THREATS NEW

ANTISPYWARE FOR THE LATEST THREATS

NEW WI-FI: FAST BUT FLAWED

OCTOBER 2006 u TECHNOLOGY ADVICE YOU CAN TRUST ® u WWW.PCWORLD.COM

BEST

UPGRADES

FOR YOUR BUCK

12 SMART WAYS TO MAKE ANY PC MORE POWERFUL

ADVICE YOU CAN TRUST ® u WWW.PCWORLD.COM BEST UPGRADES FOR YOUR BUCK 12 SMART WAYS TO
Do you know if you have enough network protection? (You’ll find out one way or

Do you know if you have enough network protection?

(You’ll find out one way or another.)

Today, with so many people working wirelessly, the security threats you face go way beyond what antivirus can handle. That’s why CDW has all the technology you need for full mobile security protection.From VPNs to data encryption to wireless security management and beyond, we have a wide variety of the top names in the industry. And we have the expertise to answer questions, offer advice and build solutions that will hold up to the worst threats out there. So call today and get the total protection you need.

SMALL BUSINESS EDITION AVAILABLEthere. So call today and get the total protection you need. Trend Micro ™ Anti-Spyware Enterprise

Trend Micro Anti-Spyware Enterprise Edition 3.0

• Enterprise-wide centralized management and deployment

• Client administration through Web-based, enterprise server console

• Client scanning, cleanup and automatic updates

• Flexible reporting

• Compatible with major enterprise antivirus products

• 24 x 7 service from TrendLabs

antivirus products • 24 x 7 service from TrendLabs 51-100 user license with 1-year Maintenance 1

51-100 user license with 1-year Maintenance 1 $23.16 CDW 869052

McAfee ® Total Protection for Enterprise

CDW 869052 McAfee ® Total Protection for Enterprise • Reduces the complexity of managing organizational

• Reduces the complexity of managing organizational security

• Enables proactive blockage of known and unknown attacks to ensure seamless continuity

• Includes host intrusion prevention, antispyware, antispam, antiphishing, antivirus and firewall

101-250 user license 2 $62.99 CDW 964429

and firewall 101-250 user license 2 $62.99 CDW 964429 1 Licensing requires a minimum purchase of

1 Licensing requires a minimum purchase of five licenses; includes 1-year Maintenance (9 x 5 telephone and online technical support, virus pattern updates and product version upgrades); call your CDW account manager for details. 2 Licensing starts at five nodes; includes 1-year Gold Support (24 x 7 technical support, upgrade protection and virus definition updates); call your CDW account manager for details. Offer subject to CDW’s standard

PGP ® Whole Disk Encryption for Enterprises • Offers comprehensive mobile security for notebooks, desktops,

PGP ® Whole Disk Encryption for Enterprises

• Offers comprehensive mobile security for notebooks, desktops, external drives and USB flash drives

• Protects data from unauthorized access

• Complies with existing and emerging industry and government regulations for information security

• Complies with business partner data protection requirements

Complies with business partner data protection requirements Call Call SurfControl Enterprise Protection Suite • Covers

Call

with business partner data protection requirements Call Call SurfControl Enterprise Protection Suite • Covers

Call

SurfControl Enterprise Protection Suite

• Covers every point of Internet vulnerability — including inbound and outbound communication

• Blocks employees from inappropriate online content, enables managers to monitor online activity, and prevents users from down loading illegal or bandwidth-intensive files

• Protects e-mail systems against viruses, phishing, confidential data leakage and inappropriate or time-consuming spam

• Provides serious antispyware protection, while also addressing adware, IM/P2P, streaming audio/video and gaming threats

adware, IM/P2P, streaming audio/video and gaming threats Now ONE PRICE buys a license to all SurfControl

Now ONE PRICE buys a license to all SurfControl products

Now ONE PRICE buys a license to all SurfControl products Websense ® Web Security Suite –

Websense ® Web Security Suite – Lockdown Edition

• Real-time security updates for immediate protection from new threats, including bots, spyware and phishing

• Robust reporting and analysis tools with critical information on security risks and user activity

• Multi-vectored protection provides layered security, blocking malicious traffic by port, IP address and signature

• Comprehensive management of URLs, protocols and applications for both local and remote endpoints

Call
Call

GFI MailSecurity for Exchange/SMTP

and remote endpoints Call GFI MailSecurity for Exchange/SMTP • Provides e-mail content checking, exploit detection,

• Provides e-mail content checking, exploit detection, threat analysis and antivirus

• Removes all types of e-mail-borne threats before they can affect an organization’s e-mail users

• Helps protect against other harmful programs that would allow potential intruders to break into your network

25 mailbox license $500 CDW 500948

break into your network 25 mailbox license $500 CDW 500948 The Security Solutions You Need When

The Security Solutions You Need When You Need Them.

terms and conditions of sale, available at CDW.com. © 2006 CDW Corporation

Solutions You Need When You Need Them. terms and conditions of sale, available at CDW.com .
Solutions You Need When You Need Them. terms and conditions of sale, available at CDW.com .

Toshiba recommends Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.

NEW!

Portégé M400 Tablet PC

The first 12'' tablet PC with an integrated optical drive 1 and Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess Built-In. 2

Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology

Genuine Microsoft Windows Tablet PC Edition

Up to 4GB of DDR2 667MHz dual-channel memory 3

Fingerprint reader to help prevent unauthorized access

One-touch docking

3-year parts and labor warranty 4

access One-touch docking 3-year parts and labor warranty 4 1. Copy protection technology may prevent or

1. Copy protection technology may prevent or limit recording or viewing of certain optical media (e.g., CD or DVD). 2. BroadbandAccess is available in 181 major metropolitan areas covering over 148 million people. Wireless service not included with notebook. Access limited to coverage area of Verizon Wireless. Check with Verizon Wireless for availability and coverage in your area. Coverage limitations and maps at verizonwireless.com. 3. Memory size may vary. See Memory Legal Footnote at www.info.toshiba.com. 4.The terms and conditions of Toshiba’s standard limited warranty are available at www.warranty.toshiba.com. 5. Weight may vary. See Weight Legal Footnote at www.info.toshiba.com. 6. Toshiba’s shock absorption technology provides higher impact protection for your system as compared to Toshiba systems without similar shock protection features based on Toshiba’s drop tests. Toshiba’s standard limited warranty terms and limitations apply. Visit www.warranty.toshiba.com for details. Portégé is a registered trademark of Toshiba America

Inside you’ll find more than expected.

Inside you’ll find more than expected. Outside you’ll have options like never before. INTRODUCING THE PORTÉGÉ
Inside you’ll find more than expected. Outside you’ll have options like never before. INTRODUCING THE PORTÉGÉ

Outside you’ll have options like never before.

INTRODUCING THE PORTÉGÉ M400 TABLET PC WITH VERIZON WIRELESS BroadbandAccess Built-In, 2 so you can work wirelessly without a PC card or the hassle of Wi-Fi hotspots. This 4.5lb 5 business machine is a powerful notebook and versatile tablet PC in one, and comes loaded with genuine Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and the latest Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology. Use the touchpad, a mouse, the keyboard, your voice or the familiar digital-ink enabled pen — whatever you choose, it’s designed to help you do more, connect more and be more productive. What could you do with the new Portégé M400? Give it a twist and see.

What can innovation do for you?

1.800.TOSHIBA
1.800.TOSHIBA

EASY CONNECTIVITY

Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess Built-In 2

It’s the Network SM that lets you connect anywhere on the Verizon Wireless high-speed wireless broadband network 2

INTUITIVE

Tablet functionality

Digital ink and intuitive design allow you to work how you want throughout your day

CONVENIENT

Integrated optical disk drive 1

Eliminate the hassle of external peripherals with a built-in DVD SuperMulti Drive 1

DURABLE

Shock-absorbing design 6

Safeguards your hard drive, display and other critical components from impacts or vibrations

HIGHLY SECURE

Fingerprint reader

Boot securely with just the swipe of a finger

It’s about you by design.

Information Systems, Inc. and/or Toshiba Corporation. Verizon Wireless and Verizon Wireless logo are registered trademarks of Verizon Wireless Trademark Services LLC. Centrino and Intel are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. While Toshiba has made every effort at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein, product specifications, configurations, prices, system/component/options availability are all subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date product information about your computer, or to stay current with the various computer software or hardware options, visit Toshiba’s website at pcsupport.toshiba.com. Reseller/Retailer pricing may vary. © 2006 Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Xerox DocuMate 152 scans at 30 images per minute and creates searchable PDFs with

The Xerox DocuMate 152 scans at 30 images per minute and creates searchable PDFs with the touch of a button. Put information you need right at your finger tips for under $600. There’s a new way to look at it.

®

High standards. Remarkable performance. The Xerox DocuMate 152 scanner is the ultimate office productivity tool for converting documents into PDF, TIF, JPG, BMP or most other major file formats with One Touch. Drop in an original. Push a button. It’s that easy! The DocuMate 152 also features One Touch scanning that allows you

152 also features One Touch scanning that allows you Learn more: www.xeroxscanners.com/pcw10 to scan-to print,

to scan-to print, -to-e-mail, or -to- storage, and then share documents while offering the highest level of image quality and OCR accuracy. The scanner offers nearly $400 in bundled software including ScanSoft PaperPort, OmniPage Pro and business card scanning software, XI Desktop Search. Control of your paper documents is one button away!

Search. Control of your paper documents is one button away! © 2006 XEROX CORPORATION. All rights
96
96
COVER STORY
COVER STORY

96 The Ultimate PC Power Boost

Deciding whether to buy a new sys- tem or upgrade your old one? You need to know what upgrade options are available and how much each will improve your current setup. We analyze the most popular upgrades— processor, video card, memory, hard drive, and optical drive—and pro- vide step-by-step installation advice.

Cover photography by Marc Simon.

139
139
installation advice. Cover photography by Marc Simon. 139 OCTOBER 2006 0 WWW.PCWORLD.COM u VOLUME 24 N

OCTOBER

2006

0

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24

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B

E

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1

FEATURES
FEATURES

WIRELESS NETWORKING

116 The Truth About Superfast Wi-Fi

WIRELESS NETWORKING 116 The Truth About Superfast Wi-Fi Networking products based on a preliminary version of

Networking products based on a preliminary version of the 802.11n wireless standard claim improved speeds and more-extensive range. We tested several “draft-n” routers and adapters—which may or may not be upgradable to the final specifi- cation when it arrives—to see how they per- form. Should you take the plunge or wait until certified products arrive next year?

BROADBAND ISPs

139 The Best Broadband in America

High-speed Internet access is getting faster, cheaper, and more accessible all the time. Based on a survey of 9000 readers, we reveal which ISPs provide the best service. We also examine the range of activities that these ever-widening pipes will make possible— including much-improved IPTV, video on demand, and high-def movie downloads.

ON THE COVER 22 54 139 116 96
ON THE COVER
22
54
139
116
96

O C T O B E R

2 0 0 6

video on demand, and high-def movie downloads. ON THE COVER 22 54 139 116 96 O

5

*) .$%)&%)#%).%*)

When it comes to talking about the environment, we let our products speak for themselves. ) *) %).,* /! .$!%)#!)%*/-'2-%(+'!%0%*,' $)#%)#"*,%.-"/!'!""%%!)2 ) '*1!(%--%*)-.$! !(*)-.,.! */,-+%,%.! *((%.(!)..*!)0%,*)(!).''2,!-+*)-%'! .!$)*'*#2)2*.$!,"%,-.-1!,!.*"*''*1-/$-.$!"%,-.$2,% 0!$%'!-*' %)*,.$(!,%) .$!"%,-.#*0!,)(!).!,.%"%! "/!'!'',$%-'!#2*"%))*0.%*)) .%)#*)*/,!'%!"-%-1$.1! ''*/,)0%,*)(!).*'*#2) %.4--!!)%)!0!,2*) +,* /.'%&!.$! (+# %0% 2,%

+,* /.'%&!.$!  (+#  %0% 2,%  -! *)  (%'!#!!-.%(.!-  *(%)!

-! *) (%'!#!!-.%(.!- *(%)! %.2 $%#$12-!"*,*(+,%-*)+/,+*-!-*)'2./'(%'!#!(20,2

TAKE EVERYTHING YOU LOVE ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND MULTIPLY IT.

TAKE THE FUN, THE GAMES, THE CURIOSITY, THE EXPLORATION, THE CREATIVITY, THE EXCITEMENT, THE PROGRESS, THE LEARNING, AND THE PASSION… AND AMPLIFY IT.

NOW TAKE EVERYTHING YOU DON’T LIKE – THE LAG TIMES, THE LOCKUPS, THE STUTTERSTEPS AND DELETE IT.

IT’S A NEW WAY OF COMPUTING. IN FACT, IT’S COMPUTING THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE.

REVIEWS & RANKINGS

85
85
REVIEWS & RANKINGS 85 43 78 54 Antispyware Programs Products from Lavasoft, PC Tools, Safer Network-

43

78
78

54

Antispyware Programs

Products from Lavasoft, PC Tools, Safer Network- ing, Sunbelt, and Webroot tackle the latest threats.

59

Digital Photo Services

Google Picasa Web Albums, Yahoo Photos

60

Top 10 Cell Phones

64

Cell Phone

LG Chocolate

66

Projector

Casio Cassiopeia Pro Super Slim XJ-S35

68

Encryption Software

DESlock+, Namo File- Lock, T3 Basic Security

72

Top 10 Desktop PCs

74

Web Spreadsheets

Google, iRows,

Num Sum

78

Top 5 Audio Players

81

OCR Software

IRIS Readiris Pro 11

83

Voice Recognition

Nuance Dragon Natural- lySpeaking 9 Preferred

85

Photo Printer

Canon Pixma iP6700D

86

Top 10 Laser Printers

88

Messaging Software

ChatterEmail+ 2.0

90

Database Software

FileMaker Pro 8.5 See page 54 for a complete list of new products reviewed.

FIND-IT URLs TO ACCESS INFORMATION about any item in PC World with an accom- panying
FIND-IT URLs
TO ACCESS INFORMATION about any item in PC World with an accom-
panying Find-It URL, enter find.pcworld.com/xxxxx (where xxxxx is
the appropriate five-digit number) into your browser’s location field.
You’ll jump to a Web page containing the information you want.
COMING UP IN NOVEMBER The Future of the PC: Find out how new technologies will
COMING UP IN NOVEMBER
The Future of the PC: Find out how
new technologies will affect com-
puting over the next few years.
…of Entertainment: From HDTV
to video on demand, we look at the
trends changing entertainment.
…of Privacy: We examine the big-
gest threats ahead and how they
will influence the way you live.
…of the Web: The Web is moving
fast; we look at developments to
expect over the next 18 months.

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DEPARTMENTS Techlog
DEPARTMENTS
Techlog

An older PC can still have a lot of kick left in it.

Letters

Readers share Web phone tales—good and bad.

Consumer Watch

Your ISP’s privacy rules may not keep your data private—as a change in AT&T’s policy shows.

Hassle-Free PC

Edit subject lines to make old e-mail easy to find.

Gadget Freak

Security systems have unforeseen complications.

Bugs and Fixes

Attacks targeting PowerPoint gain popularity.

Full Disclosure

The pitfalls of assuming we’re connected 24/7.

NEWS & TRENDS

Disarm Net Threats

Instead of blocking malware outright, innovative applications combat it by restricting its rights, by sequestering it in a “sandbox,” or by introducing a virtual system with an embedded browser.

First Tests: Fast 32GB Flash Hard Drive

Samsung and Seagate usher in a new generation

of solid-state hard drives for portable devices.

Social Atlas Sites Let You Map Your Life

Online services invite users to share insights about the geographical locales they know best.

Employers Crack Down on Personal Net Use

Penalties for non-work-related use can be severe.

Plugged In

Four-core CPUs; Mac Leopard versus Win Vista.

HERE’S HOWPlugged In Four-core CPUs; Mac Leopard versus Win Vista. Internet Tips Protect your privacy at social

Internet Tips

Protect your privacy at social networking sites.

Windows Tips

Defragment your hard disk—easily and simply.

Hardware Tips

Buy equipment that will last for years to come.

Answer Line

Windows’ Briefcase syncs files on two systems.

iPod Tips

A few tricks will extend your iPod’s battery life.

RESOURCESTips A few tricks will extend your iPod’s battery life. How to Contact PC World PC

How to Contact PC World

PC World Marketplace

Advertiser Index

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life. RESOURCES How to Contact PC World PC World Marketplace Advertiser Index O C T O

9

INTRODUCING INTEL ® CORE ™ 2 DUO. THE WORLD’S BEST PROCESSORS. Performance based on SPECint*_rate_base2000

INTRODUCING INTEL ® CORE 2 DUO. THE WORLD’S BEST PROCESSORS.

Performance based on SPECint*_rate_base2000 (2 copies) and energy efficiency based on Thermal Design Power (TDP), comparing Intel® Core™2 Duo E6700 to Intel® Pentium® D Processor 960. Actual performance may vary. See www.intel.com/performance for more information. ©2006 Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Core, the Intel Core logo, Intel. Leap ahead, and the Intel. Leap ahead. logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. All rights reserved.

Intel’s new Core™2 desktop processors multiply everything you and your computer can do. Now you
Intel’s new Core™2 desktop processors multiply everything you and your computer can do. Now you

Intel’s new Core™2 desktop processors multiply everything you and your computer can do. Now you can experience performance up to 40% faster and over 40% more energy efcient. Learn why at intel.com/core2duo

For more information on why Intel® Core™2 Duo processors are the world’s best overall processors, please visit www.intel.com/core2duo

PC Mac Linux  Cell Phones  Televisions Opera goes where you go. Choose Opera
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Opera goes where
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ILLUSTRATION: MARC ROSENTHAL

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In Praise of Older PCs

So your machine isn’t the latest and greatest. That doesn’t mean it’s toast.

just how aged is the PC that sits in my home office? It’s not just older than my laptop and my work machine. It’s also older than my car. Heck, it’s older than my house. And the amazing thing is, I’m not itchy to buy a new home system with all the newest trimmings. This one still plays an essential

role in my everyday computing, even as it approaches its fifth birthday. Time was when a PC that was a couple of years old could feel down- right creaky, especially when you threw the latest tasks at it. Today, many computers of my Compaq Pre- sario’s vintage are doing just fine. They may not pack the latest and greatest technology, but they can do most of the things that most of us want to do in 2006. Especially with a few well-chosen upgrades. I thought about that as we were working on this issue’s upgrading how-to story, Robert Luhn’s “The Ul- timate PC Power Boost” (page 96). Don’t scrap any machine until you read the article—it’s full of hands-on, real-world advice on giving new life to old boxes. Herewith, a few more tips, drawn from my own life with this Presario, on how to be a happy owner of a computer that’s been around the block a few times:

Buy a system you can grow into. Upgrad-

ing is a smart move; avoiding the need to upgrade is smarter still. So even in this era of extremely cheap, surprisingly pow- erful PCs, I recommend springing for a machine with more horsepower and fea- tures than you need right now. Way back in early 2002, I bought my Presario with

a 1.7-GHz Athlon XP CPU, 1GB of RAM,

and a 100GB hard drive—which made it

a pretty sweet system back then. Today

those specs are mundane at best, but they’ve extended the PC’s useful life.

I’m about to get a faster DSL connection. I don’t think there’s a single internal upgrade that would be as worthwhile as these connectivity upgrades have proved.

Improve the stuff you see and touch. You

might notice the speed boost that a replacement processor or additional RAM provides. Or you might not. But upgrades that appeal to the senses are always tangible. Back when I bought this machine, I held on to the fuzzy-wuzzy CRT I’d used with its predecessor. Big mis- take. A couple of years later, I ditched it for a nice LCD, and was instantly more productive. And a decent key- board and mouse—or a mouse alter- native like the Logitech trackball I now use—are high-value, low-cost improvements for aging computers.

Know when to say when. Hanging on

to an older PC is wise only so long as it’s not crimping your ability to get stuff done. And while upgrades can extend a system’s life, they can’t keep the machine going forever. So when it comes to post- poning new computer purchases, I try to be a realist, not a fanatic. For my vintage-2002 Presario, when will probably arrive around the time that Win- dows Vista does. I’m thinking that the best route to a good Vista experience will be to buy a powerful new machine de- signed to run the new operating system. Then again, my PC is only a modern graphics card away from being a tolerable Vista system, flashy Aero effects and all. Could there be more life in this old PC

yet? I just may decide to find out.

life in this old PC yet? I just may decide to find out. Contact Editor in

Contact Editor in Chief Harry McCracken at harry_mccracken@pcworld.com; read his blog at blogs.pcworld.com/techlog.

read his blog at blogs.pcworld.com/techlog . Upgrade as your work demands it. The best time to

Upgrade as your work demands it. The best

time to invest in an upgrade is when it will provide instant gratification. So I didn’t buy a DVD burner until I was ready to start fooling around with video. And there are some seemingly obvious upgrades I still haven’t made. (Don’t tell anyone, but my Presario has its poky old original USB 1.1 ports.)

Think outside the box. Defined liberally,

an upgrade is any piece of new hardware that lets you get more out of a computer you already own. In the old days, most of them were components that lived inside the PC. But lately, I’m discovering that it’s just as important to pay attention to

external infrastructure. In the time I’ve owned this PC, for

instance, I’ve gone from no network to a wired one to 802.11b Wi-Fi to 802.11g with a great big networked drive. And

O C T O B E R

2 0 0 6

to a wired one to 802.11b Wi-Fi to 802.11g with a great big networked drive. And

15

ILLUSTRATION: RANDY LYHUS

What’s new and what’s next in technology

RANDY LYHUS What’s new and what’s next in technology E D I T E D BY

E D I T E D

BY

E D WA R D

N .

A L B R O

INSIDE

19

NEW SECURITY TOOLS COMPARED

22

TESTED: FAST, STURDY FLASH-BASED HARD DRIVES FOR PORTABLES

24

MAP OUT AND SHARE YOUR LIFE ONLINE

26

EMPLOYERS CRACK DOWN ON PERSONAL WEB USE

28

PLUGGED IN: FOUR-CPU CORES ARE ON THEIR WAY

Disarm Net Threats

NEW TYPES OF SECURITY TOOLS PROACTIVELY LIMIT THE POWER OF VIRUSES AND OTHER MALICIOUS SOFTWARE TO INFILTRATE AND DAMAGE YOUR SYSTEM. BY ERIK LARKIN

18

a growing number of se-

curity tools are taking a new approach to fighting mali- cious software. Rather than blocking each virus, they aim to limit malware’s power to cause harm even if it gets in. We looked at five apps that adopt this preventive strategy. Amust’s 1-Defender and Drop- MyRights, two free programs, restrict the ability of software (and malware) to make major changes to your computer, such as in non-user-controlled parts of the Windows Registry. Though basic, these utilities are very effective—especially DropMyRights, which works with any program. Stronger protection comes from two apps that wall off Internet programs in a “sand- box.” Software running in the sandbox is blocked from mak- ing system-level changes and

sandbox is blocked from mak- ing system-level changes and from accessing personal files, like bank documents

from accessing personal files, like bank documents in your personal finance app. Green- Border Pro works only with Internet Explorer, though a Firefox version is planned; for

$30 (the promotional rate at press time), you get a one- user license plus a one-year subscription that covers prod- uct updates. Fortres Grand’s $50 Virtual Sandbox works

OCTOBER

2006

with any program and must greenlight any process that wants to run on your comput- er; but its frequent alerts can grow irksome, and its setup is somewhat more complicated than GreenBorder Pro’s. For even more protection, consider the free VMWare Player and Browser Appli- ance. This hefty download supplies a Firefox browser that runs in a fully virtualized environment; it’s much like using a separate PC just for the Web. There are some got- chas, but the player is fairly easy to install, and it offers a great deal of safety for systems with the resources to run it.

LIMITING RIGHTS

all of these programs exist because Windows needs help handling basic security, par- ticularly with regard to user

accounts. You probably em- ploy a Windows administrator account that gives you full

rights to change the Registry, install software, and read all files. A good way to make your home PC safer is to operate it under a limited user account (aka a “least-privileged user account,” or LUA) instead of an admin account; the limited user rights carry over to any malicious program that tries to infiltrate your system and thus

minimizes the damage

it can do. Hardly any-

one does this, however, because using such an account can lead to seri-

ous inconveniences. If you’re

a limited user, Windows will

frequently balk at a seemingly simple task such as changing time zones or installing legiti- mate software. To perform these kinds of tasks, you must first log out and then log back on as an administrator. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of us avoid this head- ache by choosing not to create

a separate account, which is more convenient but makes for bad security. Any poisoned Web site or corrupt attach- ment that sneaks in through a vulnerability in your browser or e-mail program can launch malware with full rights to embed itself into system direc- tories, kill antivirus programs, and generally wreak havoc. In contrast, if the attacker is not

Attackers with no

starting each program without ad ministrator privileges, even

if you otherwise use an admin

account. A splash screen and

a slightly different icon in the

upper left portion of the win-

dow indicate that you’re run- ning in SafeInternet mode. With the PC in this mode you (and any malware) can’t in- stall many types of software and can’t make any hazard- ous Registry changes. Links opened from other programs or files

start IE in safe mode. You can bypass that be- havior by shift-clicking the link, or you can start

IE in the regular way by clicking the old icons. Most actions—like opening files on your computer or installing a new toolbar—stay the same. Like 1-Defender, DropMy- Rights is a small program that opens selected apps under limited user rights. Developed by Michael Howard, a Micro- soft senior security program manager, it has been around since 2004; though How-

right to alter your PC are in effect declawed.

empowered to alter your sys-

tem, it’s in effect declawed. Enter programs such as Amust’s 1-Defender. Released in December and updated to version 2.0 in April, it works with Microsoft’s Internet Ex- plorer, Outlook, and Windows Messenger. After a brief in- stallation, you’ll have the op- tion of creating new desktop and quick-launch icons for

op- tion of creating new desktop and quick-launch icons for FEATURES COMPARISON DROPMYRIGHTS: GOOD PROTECTION FOR
FEATURES COMPARISON DROPMYRIGHTS: GOOD PROTECTION FOR FREE THOUGH OTHER APPS provide more-expansive security,
FEATURES COMPARISON
DROPMYRIGHTS: GOOD PROTECTION FOR FREE
THOUGH OTHER APPS provide more-expansive security, DropMyRights gives you simple yet
effective protection against malware by limiting user rights—and it works with any program.
PRODUCT
Cost
Type of protection
Works with
Bottom line
Internet Explorer,
Amust 1-Defender
Free
find.pcworld.com/54892
Limits system changes by
restricting user rights.
Outlook, Windows
Messenger
1-Defender is a good, easy, and free
option if you browse exclusively with
Internet Explorer.
DropMyRights
Free
Limits system changes by
restricting user rights.
Any program
find.pcworld.com/54893
With just a little setup, this is a free
winner for all of your programs.
Fortres Grand
Virtual Sandbox
$50 1
Walls off applications in a
“sandbox” to prevent unau-
thorized system changes.
Any program
find.pcworld.com/54895
Program provides extensive protec-
tion, but can be complicated to use
and maintain.
GreenBorder Pro
$30 per
year 1, 2
find.pcworld.com/54894
Walls off applications in a
“sandbox” to prevent unau-
thorized system changes.
Internet Explorer 3
Product offers extensive and easy-to-
use protection; but at $30/year for
just IE, it’s pricey.
VMWare Player and
Browser Appliance
Free
Installs a separate browser
inside a virtual system to
prevent harm to your PC.
Firefox
find.pcworld.com/54896
Installation is large but not difficult;
this is your safest option if you have
the system resources to run it.
FOOTNOTES: 1 A 30-day free trial is available. 2 Pricing is the current promotional rate for a one-user license. 3 Firefox support is coming shortly.

O C T O B E R

IN BRIEF Product Pipeline AOL GOES FREE: AOL’s software and services are now available to
IN BRIEF
Product Pipeline
AOL GOES FREE: AOL’s
software and services are
now available to broadband
users without charge. AOL’s
new freebies include fire-
wall, antivirus and antispy-
ware software; 5GB of online
storage; and parental con-
trol tools. Subscribers to the
basic $15-a-month AOL plan
can switch to a free account
(and keep their e-mail ad-
dress) by going to keyword
‘change plan’—no phone call
required. However, those
who convert their accounts
will forfeit live AOL custom-
er support and 10 hours of
dial-up Internet access.
FINANCE ’07: NEW ver-
sions of Intuit’s Quicken and
Microsoft’s Money have ar-
rived, but owners of older
versions won’t need to up-
grade unless they face the
loss of their ability to down-
load bank transaction data
due to the companies’ re-
spective sunset policies for
online services. New to the
lineup: Money Essentials, a
$20 download that will sup-
port a single year of online
services (compared with two
years for other versions of
Money and three years for
Quicken). For detailed cover-
age of Money and Quicken
2007, read our online review
(find.pcworld.com/54927).

2 0 0 6

cover- age of Money and Quicken 2007, read our online review (find.pcworld.com/54927). 2 0 0 6

19

NEWS & TRENDS

ard works for Microsoft, the company doesn’t market the app. It works with any pro- gram, but before using it you need to make some quick changes. After installing it, you must create a shortcut for each program that you want to use with it (or you must mod- ify the existing one). Howard provides full instructions with screen shots at his download site (see chart for the URL). If you click a Web link in an- other program, such as Word, your default browser will start normally, without DropMy- Rights protection (unless it is running with DropMyRights, too). To get the extra security, copy and paste the link after starting your browser via the specially prepared shortcut. Microsoft plans to include a “protected mode” in Vista that will run IE 7 without admin privileges, much as 1-Defender and DropMyRights do. Red-

ing a protected “sandbox” for the browser to work in. The utility blocks attempts by mal- ware to write to system fold- ers and perform various other administrator-type activities, and it blocks access to all your documents. It also offers a more-protected Privacy Zone mode (for online banking and the like) that blocks all access to your browsing history and other data. When running, it puts a noticeable green border around IE. If a toolbar or any- thing else within IE tries to open a file, you get a pop-up asking whether you want to allow it. Downloaded executa- bles can’t run until you remove GreenBorder’s protection; if it’s unknown to you or unex- pected, you can research the app before deciding whether to permit installation of it. Your bookmarks carry over to and from the sandbox with- out a hitch, but toolbars and

to and from the sandbox with- out a hitch, but toolbars and VMWARE’S BROWSER APPLIANCE uses

VMWARE’S BROWSER APPLIANCE uses virtualization to run a PC- within-a-PC setup to keep Internet malware away from Windows.

20

mond is also trying to take the aggravation out of running day-to-day with a LUA (cur- rent Vista betas suggest that it still has some work to do).

WALLED-OFF APPS

greenborder pro, which

works exclusively with IE, goes a step farther than DropMy- Rights or 1-Defender by creat-

other browser add-ins don’t. You must start IE unprotected to install a toolbar if you want it to be permanent. GreenBorder installs and runs smoothly, and a Firefox version is in development. But given its yearly subscrip- tion fee, the protection may cost more than it’s worth. Virtual Sandbox, from For-

it’s worth. Virtual Sandbox, from For- WWW.PCWORLD.COM OCTOBER 2006 GREENBORDER PRO BLOCKS any attempt to open

OCTOBER

2006

Virtual Sandbox, from For- WWW.PCWORLD.COM OCTOBER 2006 GREENBORDER PRO BLOCKS any attempt to open files with

GREENBORDER PRO BLOCKS any attempt to open files with Internet Explorer until you have given your express permission.

tres Grand, sets up a sandbox, too, but it can do this for any program on your computer. The program scans your sys- tem when you install it, and will offer to run all browsers in a sandbox by default. E- mail programs run normally, but any double-clicked attach- ment runs in a sandbox. It gives you complete control over each program, allowing you to set only the ones you want to run in a sandbox. Because it works with any program and blocks new apps from running without your permission, Virtual Sandbox affords more protection than GreenBorder. But it’s also sig- nificantly more demanding. You’ll get one or more pop- ups asking how you want to handle any new program, whether you’re installing new software or a standard Win- dows program or process that the utility doesn’t know about yet. The configuration menus can be hard to decipher, too. Users who want added pro- tection but don’t want to deal with Virtual Sandbox’s com- plexity may be interested in the free VMWare Player and Browser Appliance. This bun- dle’s two-step installation rou- tine is surprisingly easy, and afterward you’ll have Firefox running within a fully distinct

Ubuntu Linux operating sys- tem (the full download is about 300MB). The combina- tion runs within its own win- dow, completely segregated from the Windows OS. If you come across something that can break through Firefox run- ning under Linux, the mal- ware won’t be able to get to anything in Windows. And re- storing the isolated browser to a clean state is simple. It’s strong protection for Web surfing, but the player consumes a lot of resources when running—about 300MB of memory with four open tabs in Firefox (after a fresh install). Also, you have to set up a new browser, and you can’t simply copy a saved bookmarks file into the virtual player environment. All of these programs allow you to browse and do e-mail without incident, and all effec- tively improve your security. But by itself, fixing the admin rights vulnerability stops most current malware cold, accord- ing to Joe Stewart, senior se- curity researcher at LURHQ, an In ter net security fi rm. So unless you really need the ad- ditional level of protection that sandbox and virtualization apps provide, a rights-limiting tool such as the free DropMy- Rights may be your best bet.

*Cingular also imposes monthly a Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge of up to $1.25 to help

*Cingular also imposes monthly a Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge of up to $1.25 to help defray costs incurred in complying with State and Federal telecom regulation; State and Federal Universal Service charges; and surcharges for customer-based and revenue-based state and local assessments on Cingular. These are not taxes or government-required charges.

The ALLOVER network covers over 273 million people and is growing. Coverage not available in all areas. Limited-time offer. Other conditions and restrictions apply. See contract and rate plan brochure for details. Up to $36 activation fee applies. Equipment price and availability may vary by market and may not be available from independent retailers. Certain email systems may require additional hardware and/or software to access. ©2006 Cingular Wireless. All rights reserved.

PHOTOGRAPH: MARC SIMON

NEWS & TRENDS

STORAGE

First Tests: Fast 32GB Flash Hard Drive

22

NEW SOLID-STATE HARD DRIVES MAKE THEIR WAY INTO PORTABLE DEVICES.

are you ready for laptop

storage with no moving parts to spin up, break, drain your battery, add weight, or make noise? That’s what you get with Samsung’s new 32GB SSD (Solid State Drive). Built using NAND flash memory, the SSD is the first consumer unit with enough capacity to compete against standard notebook drives; 32GB may not satisfy multimedia ad- dicts, but it’s plenty for aver- age business users. We looked at a preproduc- tion model to see how it fared against 5400-rpm Seagate drives using the latest perpen- dicular recording technology or traditional longitudinal re- cording. The SSD found files more than twice as fast, and accelerated boot-up. Its cu- mulative speed advantage

over the other two drives was an impressive 25 percent, though it was slower on two tests that in volved ac cess ing the drive many times rather than performing longer se quen tial reads and writes (see chart). Shipping now, the 32GB and 16GB drives will initially be sold to equipment makers only. Given flash memory costs (approximately $63 per 4GB chip module at

press time), it will be a while before an SSD matches the cost per gigabyte of a stan- dard notebook drive, which is typically less than $2 per GB. Samsung already includes the drive in its Japan-only Q30 subnotebook; the company is in discussions with U.S. ven- dors to bring SSD laptops and portable devices here. Though the SSD’s price is high, its silent operation, light weight, incredible shock resis- tance, and low level of power

incredible shock resis- tance, and low level of power SAMSUNG’S NEW 2.5-INCH 32GB SSD. consumption bolster

SAMSUNG’S NEW 2.5-INCH 32GB SSD.

consumption bolster its ap- peal. Our unit weighed just 1.6 ounces, compared to 3.5 ounc- es for a typical 2.5-inch drive; 1.8-inch SSDs weigh even less. Its shock rating is a whopping 1500G—it can withstand most shocks short of being fired out of a howitzer—far higher than a standard drive’s 200G to 300G rating. And it draws a tiny 0.5 watt of power while active and 0.1 watt at idle, far less than common drives.

But don’t expect huge battery-life savings. On our system-level test, we saw a boost of about 9 percent in battery life for the test unit when con- figured with the SSD as opposed to with the Sea- gate Momentus 5400.3 (4 hours, 25 minutes ver- sus 4 hours, 3 minutes).

HYBRID TECH

to enjoy some of the

benefits of an SSD with- out shelling out big bucks, consider a hybrid drive such as one of Seagate’s 2.5-inch Momentus 5400 PSD series, which sport 256MB of flash memory cache. Such drives don’t offer all the perks of an SSD, but they do save power by letting the drive motor spin down more often, and they cut boot and resume times by retaining the operat- ing system data in the cache. They should also allow faster access to “instant on” multi- media and boost overall per- formance. Seagate hinted that hybrids will cost about 10 per- cent more than regular drives. Vendors should release hy- brids close to the ship date of Microsoft’s Vista OS, which will include ReadyBoost, a feature that can use flash memory to accelerate system responsiveness. (See Plugged In, page 28, for another Sam-

sung flash-based product that will offer hybrid capabilities.) Still, mobile pros who can deal with the smaller capacity of a pure SSD—and can afford it—will love the 32GB SSD. —Jon L. Jacobi

TEST REPORT SAMSUNG SSD SHOWS ITS PERFORMANCE EDGE SAMSUNG’S SSD PROVIDES a faster boot time
TEST REPORT
SAMSUNG SSD SHOWS ITS PERFORMANCE EDGE
SAMSUNG’S SSD PROVIDES a faster boot time and speeds file search, large-file processing.
TEST COMPLETION TIME (SECONDS)
Drive
DRIVE
ACDSee
technology
Copy files &
folders
Copy
Boot up
Find file
PowerPack
large file
5.0 1
Ahead
Nero
Express 6 1
Samsung
32GB SSD (32GB)
Solid-state
35
267
196
58
710
425
Seagate Momentus
Perpendicular
42
270
215
131
647
607
5400.3 (160GB) 2
recording
Seagate Momentus
Longitudinal
43
286
223
137
659
638
5400.2 (120GB) 2
recording
CHART NOTES: All drives used the ATA-100 interface. Lower scores are better on all tests. Bold denotes the best score. Tests
performed by the PC World Test Center. All rights reserved. FOOTNOTES: 1 These tests are part of the PC World Test Center’s World-
Bench 5 suite. For details on how we test, visit www.worldbench.com. 2 This is a 5400-rpm drive with 8MB of cache.
WWW.PCWORLD.COM
OCTOBER
2006

NEWS & TRENDS

WEB COMMUNITIES

Social Atlas Sites Let You Map Your Life

NEW SITES LET YOU SHARE MEMORIES, INFO WITH FRIENDS, FAMILY, OR THE ENTIRE INTERNET.

24

no plain vanilla mapping

site knows your favorite haunts as well as you do. New online services tap that infor- mation by enabling you to share your knowledge and memories of your most be- loved locales—in your home- town or on the other side of the globe—with the rest of the world. I looked at five of these services: Flagr, 43 Places, Pla- tial, Plazes, and Wayfaring. Built on conventional map- ping data from services such as Google Maps, these sites let you add digital pushpins that link to personal descrip- tions of the locations. While any visitor can peruse the con- tributions of others on these sites, typically you must regis- ter in order to add content. But don’t worry about having to provide credit card info: All five sites are free, requiring only that you submit a valid e-mail address. (Note, howev- er, that Plazes is still in beta form, and that 43 Places may eventually charge a fee.) Looking for New York City’s best street art? Want to follow the virtual footsteps of Jack Bauer, protagonist of the TV show 24? Wayfaring Media’s Wayfaring (www.wayfaring. com) has directions for both. Users can also post comments on other users’ maps. Though most contributors offer a lighthearted look at their locations, some at Platial (www.platial.com) tell dark tales, such as those tied to lo- cations of recent shark attacks. The site, which calls itself

of recent shark attacks. The site, which calls itself A PLATIAL MEMBER’S entry for San Francisco’s

A PLATIAL MEMBER’S entry for San Francisco’s Ferry Building includes a photo, comments, and its location on Google Maps.

“The People’s Atlas,” recently added a feature that links its maps to RSS feeds, so you can receive alerts about new anno- tations for places that interest you, or by other users whom you specify—giving the site a timeliness that the others I looked at lacked. Several of the sites I visited allow you to add images to your text posts, but Platial is the only one that supports video uploads.

TRAVELER WISH LISTS

anyone who has ever used

Yahoo’s popular Flickr photo- sharing service recognizes how tags work: Users assign keywords to categorize imag- es. The same approach is taken by the Robot Co-op’s 43

Places (www.43places.com), which—despite its name— has descriptions of thousands of locales around the world. Along with the usual place names, you’ll find tags such as “Hogwarts” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” illustrating that travel is sometimes a state of mind. The site even posts user-assigned “wander- lust ratings” for each mapped location, though it’s difficult to find any spot with a rating under 80 percent (100 percent is the highest possible mark). Plazes ( www.plazes.com ) ties user-supplied data to net- work router locations (called Plazes), as automatically iden- tified by free, downloadable desktop software that also lets

downloadable desktop software that also lets WWW.PCWORLD.COM OCTOBER 2006 people (all users or, at your discretion,

OCTOBER

2006

people (all users or, at your

discretion, invited friends) see where you are. You can use the service without the down- loaded app to find other Plaz- es and users—but unless you use the software, you can’t add

a Plaze to the service’s data-

base, and others won’t be able to see your precise location. The least developed of the five services is Flagr (www. flagr.com), self-described as a “Sharewhere” site. It has rela- tively few annotated locations, and the descriptions I checked lacked detail. Flagr demon-

strates that, like all sites that rely on community-created content, personal-mapping services depend on attracting

a critical mass of participants.

PRIVACY ISSUES

one key caveat: These and

other personal-mapping sites have built-in privacy risks.

Though all five of the services

I tested offer some ability to

control who can see your data, you are entrusting personal information to a Web server. In general, it’s a bad idea to

post any data you wouldn’t feel comfortable writing on a postcard sent via U.S. mail. Time will tell whether any of these ambitious services will ever become the mapping equivalent of such community powerhouses as MySpace or YouTube. But if you’re going to check out just one, head to Platial, which seems to have more—and more-detailed— posts than its competitors. —Dennis O’Reilly

e companies.of LTD

Corporate names, trademarks stated herein

poration.©

06/06]

Cor

[13051-01C

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respectiv

ViewSonic

Capcom

their

reserved.

and ©

2006

property

Planet

Copyright

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are

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NEWS & TRENDS

INTERNET

Employers Crack Down on Personal Net Use

26

MISUSING E-MAIL OR BROWSING THE WRONG SITES CAN COST YOU YOUR JOB.

tasha newitt was aware

her employer, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, had a policy re- stricting personal use of work computers, but she believed it focused on Web surfing, not e-mail. So she was stunned when the agency fired her after finding 418 personal e-mail messages received over a peri-

od of five months (or about 5 per workday) on her PC. Newitt isn’t alone: Increas- ingly, managers are cracking down on employee Internet activity by drafting strict usage policies—and enforcing them through use of software that monitors surfing, examines e-mail, and restricts the sites an employee can browse to. Newitt’s employer exam- ined her office’s e-mail after a co-worker filed

a sexual-harassment

complaint against a

supervisor. The de part- ment ultimately fired

8 em ploy ees (in clud-

ing Newitt) and disci- plined 16 others for their improper use of agency equipment. Will Vehrs, who works at the Virginia Department of

Business Assistance, received

a ten-day unpaid suspension

for excessive casual use of the Internet while at work. Vehrs’ employer knew he blogged, often about state issues, at the Commonwealth Conservative’s

Virginia politics blog (www.vaconservative. com). In fact, Virgin- ia’s governor read and sometimes re used his

posts; but he was pun- ished after composing humorous captions for photographs as part of

a local newspaper’s

contest. His captions poked fun at a Virginia county and annoyed a local politician. Whether streaming video is eating into a company’s network bandwidth or employ- ees’ viewing of adult

content is exposing the firm to sexual harassment

charges, companies have some

le gitimate reasons to limit

their workers’ access to and activity on the Internet. A 2005 survey of 526 busi- nesses and organizations by the ePolicy Institute and the

American Management Asso-

76 percent [of companies surveyed]

American Management Asso- 76 percent [of companies surveyed] ENTERING A HUMOROUS caption contest cost Virginia state

ENTERING A HUMOROUS caption contest cost Virginia state employee Will Vehrs ten days’ pay.

Massachusetts-based Net- works Unlimited audits the

Internet activity of its clients’ employees and sells equip- ment for auditing and block- ing workers’ Internet use. It found that fewer than 100 em- ployees at Balls Food—a super- market and pharmacy chain based in Kansas City— had Net access at work, but that they spent a

total of 686 hours in one year using Web-

based e-mail such as Hotmail and Yahoo. By contrast, 120 em- ployees at a New York– based software com- pany spent an estimated 7700 hours in one year accessing Web-based e-mail, 2400 hours at shopping and sports-related sites, and 250 hours visiting

pornographic sites. In total, the employees spent more than 17,000 hours in one year on recreational surfing (rough- ly 3 hours per employee per

week), which trans- lates into an estimated loss in worker produc- tivity of $867,000, ac- cording to Networks Unlimited. Fear of viruses, spy- ware, and other secu- rity breaches due to non-work-related Web use is another impetus for employers to limit their workers’ Internet activity. Such attacks can disrupt company networks and lead to loss of confidential in- formation. But Nancy Flynn, director of the

ePolicy Institute and author of Blog Rules and other books on workplace tech poli- cies, says that concern about potential litigation is the main

reason organizations manage their employees’ Internet use.

INTERNET LIABILITIES

a county public Works De- partment office in Nevada at- tracted embarrassing atten- tion when an employee was arrested after downloading more than 400 images of child pornography to his work com- puter. The agency discovered the stash only by tracing a virus that crashed the county’s network to one of the images. Flynn of ePolicy insists that companies must take care to explain their Internet policy clearly to employees and be consistent about enforcing it. “There are companies that pick and choose who they ter- minate. That just confuses employees,” says Flynn. —Kim Zetter

monitor the sites

employees visit.

ciation found that 76 percent

of them monitor the sites that

their employees visit, and 65 percent block certain sites. At

least 55 percent of them re- view and retain employees’ e-mail, and 36 percent track the content on workers’ PCs, their keystrokes, and the time that they spend at the keyboard.

content on workers’ PCs, their keystrokes, and the time that they spend at the keyboard. WWW.PCWORLD.COM

OCTOBER

2006

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E R I C

DA H L

Two CPUs Too Slow? Try Four

PLUS: FLASH DISKS GO MAINSTREAM; THE LEOPARD/VISTA SHOWDOWN.

QUAD-CORE SYSTEMS

GO MAINSTREAM; THE LEOPARD/VISTA SHOWDOWN. QUAD-CORE SYSTEMS The Buzz: What do you do when two CPU

The Buzz: What do you do when two CPU cores

just aren’t enough? You start packing four of them into a system, of course. That’s what Intel and AMD are set to do in different ways toward the end of the year. After a suc- cessful Core 2 Duo launch, Intel has decided to move up the launch of its Kentsfield chip, which essentially loads a pair of Core 2 Duo dies onto a single package. That chip is now set to ship by the end of the year, which miraculously coincides with the launch win- dow for AMD’s 4x4—a high- end, dual-socket platform that delivers four cores in the form of a pair of dual-core Athlon 64 X2 or FX processors. Bottom Line: Quad-core per- formance gains are likely to

Bottom Line: Quad-core per- formance gains are likely to be small for most applica- tions, though

be small for most applica- tions, though power-hungry creative types and gamers could see some benefit. But I still don’t see how AMD gets “4x4” out of two dual-core chips. Maybe we can convince Intel to team up with Home Depot to produce some 2x4s.

LEOPARD HUNTS VISTA

The Buzz: Microsoft just might be in for the fight of its life next year, when Vista finally ships—and runs right

life next year, when Vista finally ships—and runs right into Apple’s latest update to OS X.

into Apple’s latest update to OS X. Apple plans to launch Leopard next spring, and the Intel-based Mac Pro desktop systems that will make it sing are shipping now. Apple pre- viewed Leopard (and tried out some new Microsoft zingers) at its World-Wide Developer Conference in August. High- lights include a fully support- ed version of Boot Camp that lets you dual-boot Intel Macs into Windows, and some en- hancements to iChat that let you share applications and photos. But the most welcome development should be Time Machine, an automatic back- up feature that allows you to retrieve old versions of files and restore deleted data via a time-line interface. Bottom Line: I wouldn’t have even dreamed this two years ago, but with Boot Camp on board and OS X looking as good as it does, my next PC may very well be an Apple.

SAMSUNG’S 4GB SSD

The Buzz: Imagine if all your critical apps and OS data could live in a fast, permanent cache. With a 4GB solid-state drive like the one Samsung is getting ready for Vista-based desktop and lap- top PCs, that dream could be- come a reality. Using Vista’s ReadyBoost feature, the new SSDs could greatly speed up

ReadyBoost feature, the new SSDs could greatly speed up FUTURE TECH 300GB-DISC UPDATE HOLOGRAPHIC STORAGE: It’s
FUTURE TECH 300GB-DISC UPDATE HOLOGRAPHIC STORAGE: It’s a neat idea that lets you pack tons
FUTURE TECH
300GB-DISC UPDATE
HOLOGRAPHIC STORAGE: It’s a neat idea that lets you pack
tons of data onto optical media by storing it in three dimen-
sions. When we last checked in on the technology (see find.
pcworld.com/54926), Maxell and InPhase hoped to have
300GB discs the size of CDs ready sometime this year.
Amazingly, they’re still on track. The first models will be well
out of the range of consumers, with drives costing upward
of $15,000 and media going for around $120 each. Wallet-
friendlier versions are in the works, though. InPhase expects
to develop less-expensive media that can store between
75GB and 100GB in an area the size of a postage stamp.
28
WWW.PCWORLD.COM
OCTOBER
2006
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access to critical applications and data while using less pow- er than normal hard drives. Bottom Line: Big-time SSDs— the kind that could replace a hard drive (see “First Tests:

Fast 32GB Flash Hard Drive” on page 22)—will remain ex- pensive for a good long while. Fortunately, at current flash memory prices, the 4-gig mod-

els cost $150 or less.

flash memory prices, the 4-gig mod- els cost $150 or less. You can contact PC World

You can contact PC World Senior Editor Eric Dahl at eric_dahl@ pcworld.com; visit find.pcworld. com/31643 to read additional Plugged In columns.

Special Advertising Supplement

VoIP Phone System Delivers Top Credit Ratings

AltiGen helps lift CRM Mexicana to number one in credit card call centers

T IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR HUGO PELAYO TO GET A MESSAGE

I telling him and his call center to be ready for 25,000 phone calls coming in an hour or so, the result of a cus- tomer running a TV ad for a new credit card promotion. But as CEO of CRM Mexicana, the fastest-growing outsourced call center provider in Latin America, Pelayo is not worried by such demands.

“Our AltiGen IP phone system will handle it,” Pelayo says with confidence. “If we need to make some quick adjustments or sys- tem changes, we can usually take care of them on our own. The system is ultraflexible, which means we can service our cus- tomers more effectively than anyone else.” CRM Mexicana has grown dra- matically in the past three years, which not coincidentally is as long as the company has been using AltiGen’s Call Center solu- tion. After starting in 2003 with its first AltiGen system for just 50 call center agents, CRM Mexi- cana will grow to more than 2,000 agents by the end of this year, operating in Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela. The common thread throughout that growth has been corresponding growth of CRM Mexicana’s AltiGen systems.

“Their growth was definitely being limited by a proprietary Siemens phone system they had in 2003,” recalls Antonio Trevino, CEO of iFone, AltiGen’s distribu- tor in Latin America. “Even small changes could take days, and customers just weren’t willing to wait that long.”

A SMOOTH TRANSITION Pelayo’s main concern with switching to AltiGen was whether his fledgling call center would be shut down for a prolonged peri- od during the system cutover in a business that is inherently 24/7 in nature. The transition was completed with CRM Mexicana’s call center agents up and run- ning on the AltiGen phone sys- tem in one weekend day. “We got the AltiGen system installed and running so quickly because it is so versatile and so easy to implement,” Pelayo says.

AltiGen Communications, Inc.

AltiGen Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATGN) is a pioneering manufacturer of VoIP business phone systems and call center solutions. Founded in 1994, AltiGen was first to market with self-administration, and recently received Internet Telephony Magazine’s 2005 Product of the Year for its IP 710 telephone.

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“This was a huge cost savings to us because we did not need to rent another office facility where our agents could work, and then move everyone back into the office after the system was installed.” That was just the beginning. Soon word spread among credit card companies and other call center–centric businesses that CRM Mexicana was able to accommodate changes with the peerless flexibility that IP-based phone systems offer. The number of agents needed

by CRM

Mexicana grew almost geometrically, and addi- tional AltiGen phone systems were added methodically and steadily to support this growth. “That’s one of AltiGen’s most impressive features, namely its scalability,” says iFone’s Trevino. “With CRM Mexicana expanding throughout the region, AltiGen’s phone systems have the same proven ease of management and ease of use in all the markets where they are deployed.” Meanwhile, CRM Mexicana has grown from a small firm of 50 call center agents to being the largest call center for servicing credit card requests in all of Latin America. “AltiGen has been a huge part of our growth,” Pelayo con- cludes. “Self-management, scala- bility, and VoIP capabilities have all added to our success.”

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PHOTOGRAPH: MARC SIMON

PHOTOGRAPH: MARC SIMON LETTERS LETTERS@PCWORLD.COM SAFE COMPUTING: PRIME TIME NOW FOR HDTV? HANDHELD USE LINUX

LETTERS

SAFE COMPUTING:

PRIME TIME NOW FOR HDTV?

HANDHELD

USE LINUX OS

KEYBOARDS

YOUR TAKE ON NET PHONE SERVICE
YOUR TAKE ON
NET PHONE SERVICE

the article “ Web Phone Woes” [ News and Trends, August] may leave readers overly cautious about VoIP service. I had a great time trying various VoIP provid- ers. After using VoiceWing, CallVantage, and Lingo, I settled on SunRocket. These companies gave either a free month’s ser- vice or a refund if the service was can- celed during the first month, along with free return shipping of the equipment. All four had customer service that was al- most too eager to assist me.

L. M. Craig, Knoxville, Tennessee

$92, while my requests by phone, e-mail, snail mail, and live chat were ignored. Final- ly, a plea to “ceo@earthlink. net” resulted in a mailing label, an apology, and (ap- parently) the removal of all the charges. Fortunately, I had opt- ed not to transfer my tele- phone number—a decision I strongly ad- vise all others to adopt as well.

Joe O. Marcom, Galena Park, Texas

i’ve had vonage for nearly a year. It has saved me a fortune in costs over a regular landline. Sure, sometimes there’s a scratchy connection; but you just hang up and redial. Those few inconveniences are still worth what Vonage offers. Even in my remote, unincorporated town, I get 911 service. There was no problem in porting over the existing number. I’m confident that, in time, the glitches will be worked out and the service will be as good as a regular landline.

S. Mendelsohn, Tumwater, Washington

in a mailing, EarthLink TrueVoice offered its VoIP service for about $25 per month, with the first month free. But when the device for the service arrived, I learned of a $20 nonrefundable shipping and handling fee (which I paid). A few days later, following my failure to get a dial tone on two different devices and nearly 3 hours with tech support, I can- celed the service and requested a mailing label to return the device. Instead, I re- ceived a bill for $55, followed by one for

my experience with 8x8 almost two

years ago was similar to Pamela Stodg- hill’s in your article. After three weeks I canceled my service. Conditions may have changed since, but my complaints at the time were: no 911 capability, poor voice quality, frequent dropped calls, and frequent server outages. I also didn’t like having to leave a computer on all the time just to make a phone call.

Rick Cunnington, Oro Valley, Arizona

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK RATE THIS ISSUE by going to www.pcworld.com/pcwinput—you could win a
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RATE THIS ISSUE by going to www.pcworld.com/pcwinput—you could win a $300
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alternate method of entry into the prize drawing.

you briefly mentioned the problem

of losing a dial tone in a power outage. If VoIP is to be your only phone, get an uninterruptible power supply. As a security system installer, I have to connect equipment to these VoIP phone systems. Firsthand, I’ve seen our local cable company (a well-known name) tak- ing phone technology backward many years with pathetic installations. I think it will be years before such installations catch up to anything close to the landline phone companies’ standards.

Edward Henning, Macon, Georgia

why look at just three companies, and then imply that everyone is unhappy? I would have hoped that, as a magazine devoted to technology, you would balance your article by pointing out how many people are actually happier with the new technology, rather than feeding the fear generated by the phone companies.

David A. Buckner Farmington Hills, Michigan

SAFETY TIPS

reading about all of the Internet

threats you discussed [“The 10 Biggest Security Risks You Don’t Know About,” August] reinforced the decision I made several years ago to switch to the Linux operating system. Any concern over the threat of virus attacks on Linux PCs—as described in the section “No Safe Haven:

Threats Plague All Platforms”—probably is premature. Linux antivirus software is a treatment looking for a disease.

Barry Garsson, Boca Raton, Florida

while there is no 100 percent effec- tive solution for security, there are things you can do that can help. For example I took an old notebook; reformatted the hard disk; and reinstalled Windows,

I took an old notebook; reformatted the hard disk; and reinstalled Windows, O C T O

O C T O B E R

2 0 0 6

I took an old notebook; reformatted the hard disk; and reinstalled Windows, O C T O

33

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security programs, and my financial pro- gram. All I use this PC for is banking— my bank is the only site that I visit on this system. If you don’t have an extra com- puter, buy a low-end desktop or notebook for just this purpose.

Richard Cornish, Carson City, Nevada

PROS AND CONS OF HDTV

in yardena arar’s article “HDTV: Is

Now the Best Time to Buy?” [Consumer Watch, August], she states that she has been holding off getting HDTV until she “can have everything else” she’d like in a home entertainment system, such as more desirable high-def programming and more storage on HD DVRs. These complaints may have been valid six months ago, but they are dated today. Dish Networks’ new HDTV program- ming and HDTV DVR address the limita- tions. This satellite offering includes 29 HD channels and a ViP622 HDTV DVR that stores 30 hours of HD content. The DVR also has dual tuners for watching one channel while recording another.

Zane Alsabery, Agoura Hills, California

i considered buying an HDTV, and

compared brands and prices in several stores. But I also asked myself one ques- tion: Is there anything on TV that would be worth spending thousands of dollars to watch? I think not. I think I’ll use my money on an HD vacation instead.

Stephen Liberatori, Tamarac, Florida

high-definition programming is

being broadcast by most TV stations— you may not need a cable or satellite con- nection. Anyone who has an HDTV set and lives within 10 to 15 miles of a televi- sion transmission tower can get marvel- ous digital and high-definition reception using a small $30 indoor antenna. I use the Terk HDTVi Antenna Pro, and I can receive all the major networks and some local stations beautifully.

Michael R. Treister, Chicago

KEYBOARDS AND PDAs

stephen manes’s column on key-

boards [“Keyboards: Still the Key to Suc- cess,” Full Disclosure, August] misses one

big point. For all the virtues of Palm PDAs, why should they have a QWERTY keyboard you can type on one only with a stylus? QWERTY is for keyboards where your fingers can touch-type. If you type on such a keyboard with a stylus, howev- er, you are likely to find yourself saying, “Where is that darn P, anyway?” Stylus keyboards should be A to Z, from left to right, top to bottom. And why does the Palm have little tiny symbols (such as a comma and a period) that can easily be mistaken for each other?

Gerald Wright, San Diego

years ago I used a Psion, which had a keyboard you could type on at reasonable speed. I once wrote a 22-page memo on it while flying back from a business trip to Africa. The Psion was, in my humble opinion, the very best of the pocket-size PCs, and nothing today can do what that little machine did with text, spreadsheets, and databases. It’s shame that device went the way of the Betamax tape.

Paul Ross, Rydal, Pennsylvania

THANKS FOR THE TIPS

steve bass’s “New Uses for Old Hard

Drives” [Hassle-Free PC, August] made my subscription well worth the price! These tips on accessing and reusing old drives provide solutions that I hadn’t dreamed were available. His humor, wit, and solutions make him my favorite con- tributor to PC World.

Dirk Wilder, Portola Hills, California

PC World welcomes letters to the editor. We reserve the right to edit for length and clar-

ity. Send e-mail to letters@pcworld.com.

length and clar- ity. Send e-mail to letters@pcworld.com. CORRECTIONS IN SEPTEMBER’S “VIDEO Every- where,”

CORRECTIONS

IN SEPTEMBER’S “VIDEO Every- where,” the page 106 chart and page 107 sidebar, “Digital Video Rights and Wrongs,” should have said Cinema- Now has begun to offer a limited set of mainstream movies you can burn to a DVD that will play on your TV. On page 114, we should have identified the Ourmedia site as Ourmedia.org. PC World regrets the errors.

34

have identified the Ourmedia site as Ourmedia.org. PC World regrets the errors. 34 WWW.PCWORLD.COM OCTOBER 2006

OCTOBER

2006

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Is Your ISP Helping the Feds Spy on You?

The privacy of your data may depend on how you connect to the Internet.

as a longtime DSL customer of the ISP now known as AT&T, I’ve been following with concern the coverage of AT&T’s recently revised privacy policy. It seems to indicate that I shouldn’t expect much from it in terms of safeguarding my personal information—and I’m seri- ously debating whether to express my displeasure by jumping ship. AT&T’s reworked privacy policy asserts that the company owns customer records—even the e-mail addresses of people with whom I correspond—and appears to allow considerable leeway in what AT&T can do with this informa- tion. Coming in the wake of alle- gations that the company has been handing over phone records to the National Security Agency, the pri- vacy policy change is troubling. Company spokesperson Walt Sharp says AT&T isn’t doing any- thing other ISPs aren’t. “Our poli- cy is consistent with the policies of other major corporations and with others in the industry,” he says. But I found that not all ISP pri- vacy policies are created equal. As explained below, your best chanc- es for keeping your personal information and online activities private may be to go with a cable operator for Internet access.

AT&T’S CHANGES

at&t’s controversial privacy poli-

cy change, which took effect in late June, applies only to its broadband Internet access partnership with Yahoo and to its video services. “These kinds of services don’t fall under the traditional telecom

privacy law that’s in place,” says Ari Schwartz, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology. “Tele- com [privacy] laws cover only voice, not data.” But data is protected if you use a cable Internet provider—laws restrict those companies from disclosing it. The most startling revision to the policy

is defined as including not just contact data (your name, address, phone num- ber, and e-mail address—info the com- pany needs to send you bills), but records on the services you use, your transac- tions (such as online purchases) and service charges, the equipment and soft- ware you’re using, and even “your Social Security number and/or credit card information, passwords, and usernames.” I have difficulty get- ting my head around the notion that my Social Security number is now an AT&T business record. Another part of the “Legal Obli- gations/Fraud” section that sets off alarm bells is a sentence saying that AT&T can use “your informa- tion” to “investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activi-

as otherwise required or

permitted by law.” If all that isn’t a blank check to give out my infor-

mation (especially the “permitted by” part), I don’t know what is.

the “permitted by” part), I don’t know what is. is found under the “Legal Obligations/ Fraud”

is found under the “Legal Obligations/ Fraud” heading: “While your Account Information may be personal to you, these records constitute business records that are owned by AT&T. As such, AT&T may disclose such records to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process.” Elsewhere in the document (read it in all its legalistic glory at find.pcworld. com/54462), your Account Information

ties

or

CABLE’S SAFEGUARDS

contrast this with the priva-

cy policy for Comcast’s high-speed Internet service (AT&T Yahoo’s principal competitor in my neck of the woods). Read the policy at find.pcworld. com/54464, and you’ll find this sentence:

“Comcast considers the personally identi- fiable information contained in our busi- ness records to be confidential.” Sure, it’s still part of a business record, but the whole tenor of the statement is markedly different from AT&T’s pronouncement. And it’s followed by a sentence in which Comcast says it can disclose a custom-

And it’s followed by a sentence in which Comcast says it can disclose a custom- O

O C T O B E R

2 0 0 6

And it’s followed by a sentence in which Comcast says it can disclose a custom- O

37

MAT CHOMARK

ILLUSTRATION:

er’s personal information only in certain cases—to conduct business related to the customer’s services, if “required by law or legal process,” or for mailing lists (if the subscriber doesn’t opt out). Time Warner Cable’s privacy policy page specifically references several laws that the policy complies with: The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, the Electronic Communications Policy Act of 1986, and the Online Copyright Infringe- ment Liability Limitation Act of 1998. In most regards, Time Warner Cable’s pri- vacy policy is similar to Comcast’s. “We have all kinds of privacy laws that don’t make any sense,” Schwartz says of the situation. “They’re based on how

CONSUMER WATCH

the information is being communicated rather than the type of information.” An example of how privacy require- ments vary based on the delivery mecha- nism has to do with video. The confiden- tiality of records of video rentals from Blockbuster and its competitors is strictly protected by the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (enacted after a newspaper disclosed the video-rental records of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork). Schwartz says it’s likely that law would also apply to DVD rentals from compa- nies such as Netflix. But AT&T’s video- on-demand transactions, which the com- pany now classifies as business records, may not be covered by the law.

as business records, may not be covered by the law. PRIVACY WATCH How Bad Guys Exploit
PRIVACY WATCH How Bad Guys Exploit Legitimate Sites YOU’VE HEARD SO many warnings about phishing
PRIVACY WATCH
How Bad Guys Exploit Legitimate Sites
YOU’VE HEARD SO many warnings about phishing that
you’ve become wary of any e-mail message purporting
to come from your bank or favorite Web store. But if the
link in it uses a legitimate Web domain and your phishing
filter (see find.pcworld.com/54883 if you don’t have one)
doesn’t complain, the message must be okay, right?
The answer, as you can probably guess, is “Wrong.” You
can’t even trust your eyes anymore, because online scam artists have figured
out ways to turn Web sites against themselves. The technique is called cross-site
scripting (or XSS), and it exploits a hole that affects hundreds of the largest Web
sites. Legitimate Web sites often use a script to help direct visitors to different
parts of the site. But bad guys are constantly probing these scripts as a way to
bypass antiphishing filters and get you to click a link that delivers your browser—
and eventually, your personal data—right into the attacker’s lap.
If you were to type http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.pcworld.com into
your browser, you might think your destination would be Google, but that’s only the
first stop. This URL calls a script hosted at Google that tells the search engine you
just clicked a link in a search result pointing at PC World’s Web site. So Google tells
your browser, “Go there instead”—and it does.
Most antiphishing tools validate only the first domain name in a URL, which can
leave you vulnerable if the second one is a criminal’s fake site. Experts have posted
alerts about cross-site scripting problems on nearly 300 large Web sites—so far.
So what can you do to avoid the next XSS attack? Lance James, chief scientist
at Secure Science, a company that tracks cybercriminals who engage in theft of
financial information, recommends using the Netcraft Toolbar (toolbar.netcraft.
com), which comes in versions for both Internet Explorer and Firefox. “It’s very
aware of phishing and has a great repository of phishing sites,” he says. Netcraft’s
Toolbar looks for suspicious URLs anywhere within a Web address.
In general, “If a URL looks really strange, particularly with nontraditional charac-
ters on the end of it, you have to be careful,” says Netcraft analyst Rich Miller. “You
can’t count on the fact that your financial institution’s site will be secure.”
—Andrew Brandt
O C T O B E R
2 0 0 6
WWW.PCWORLD.COM
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Brandt O C T O B E R 2 0 0 6 WWW.PCWORLD.COM 39 A REASON

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CONSUMER WATCH

ON YOUR SIDE Online Stores Not Friendly to APO Buyers I WORK IN Saudi Arabia
ON YOUR SIDE
Online Stores Not Friendly to APO Buyers
I WORK IN Saudi Arabia and
have a U.S. military APO ad-
dress. I know that many Web
sites will not ship overseas, but I’m
trying to have a gift shipped to a U.S.
address. Online retailer NewEgg.com
told me after first accepting and then
cancelling my order that all orders must
be placed within the United States.
James Lillard
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
On Your Side responds: Newegg.com
says that it cancelled Lillard’s order
because its fraud filters flagged it. The
company would not tell us what had
caused the order to be flagged, but its
FAQ page states that if you specify a
shipping address that’s different from
your billing address, you must call your
credit card issuer and add the ship-
ping address as an alternate address.
With most online stores, as long as you
enter a billing address—even an APO
address—that is the same as the one on
your credit card, you shouldn’t have a
problem shipping to a U.S. recipient. For
example, Amazon.com says customers
who reside overseas may ship to U.S.
addresses without restriction.
Shipping to an APO or FPO address
can be stickier. Buy.com says it does
not ship to them because some of its
suppliers won’t, and cites restrictions
on exporting certain kinds of technol-
ogy out of the United States. Amazon
won’t ship certain products—including
most electronics—to APOs or FPOs.
—Amber Bouman

PRIVACY LAWS COMING

u.s. representatives ed Markey (D-

Massachusetts) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) are working on bills to address these con- tradictions, and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) has called for a privacy bill of rights. Schwartz says the Federal Com- munications Commission and the Feder- al Trade Commission are examining the issue. But for now, if you prefer to keep your Internet activities and video-viewing

habits private, opt for cable.

activities and video-viewing habits private, opt for cable. Yardena Arar is a senior editor, Andrew Brandt

Yardena Arar is a senior editor, Andrew Brandt is a contributing editor, and Amber Bouman is an editorial assistant for PC World. E-mail them at consumerwatch@ pcworld.com, privacywatch@pcworld.com, or onyourside@pcworld.com. To read previously published Consumer Watch, Privacy Watch, or On Your Side columns, visit find.pcworld. com/31703, find.pcworld.com/31706, or find. pcworld.com/31709, respectively.

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40

WWW.PCWORLD.COM

OCTOBER

2006

that helps you do more with less. Visit www.apricorn.com/pcworld or call 800-458-5448. 40 WWW.PCWORLD.COM OCTOBER 2006
5
5
5     !

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MAYF ORTHHAL

ILLUSTRATION:

S T E V E B A S S
S T E V E
B A S S

Find Old E-Mail Messages Quickly

Plus: Supercharge Outlook searches and stop annoying printer pop-ups.

The Hassle: I hang on to valuable mes- sages, sometimes for years. The problem is, the subject lines are often worthless. That makes it difficult for me to remem- ber what the e-mail was about. The Fix: I have the same pack rat mentality, but I know a quick trick. Just edit the contents of the subject field and add descriptive words. Then save the message for easier sorting and searching. This approach is also good for clarifying a cryptic subject before forwarding a message. In most e-mail apps, it’s easy. Out- look and OE let you edit the subject line in place and save the message. Ditto for Eudora. It’s tougher with Web- based services. In Hotmail, for example, you have to open the message, click For- ward (or Reply), change the subject, click Save as Draft, and then move the mes- sage to another folder. Oy vey. Quick Bonus Tip: Editing the subject is handy, but get this—some e-mail apps also let you edit the message body, which is useful for proving to your boss that he did authorize your 20 percent raise. [Edi- tor’s note: Fat chance.] In Outlook, with the message open, choose Edit•Edit Message. Then start typing away. As with subject-

Message . Then start typing away. As with subject- line changes, Outlook will prompt you to

line changes, Outlook will prompt you to save before you close the window. In Eu- dora, click the pencil icon on the toolbar. The Hassle: I forgot the password I use to log on as administrator. Now I can’t do monthly maintenance, such as dumping useless pro- grams on my home computer. The Fix: You have a few ways to retrieve your administrator password. Kelly Ther- iot’s method (detailed at find.pcworld. com/54272) is free, but it’s tricky and cer- tain to make you dizzy. The Login Recov- ery site (find.pcworld.com/54274) will do the dirty work for free, but it takes two

days (if you pay a $20 fee, the job gets done in 10 minutes). Your best bet is to spring for NT Access (find.pcworld. com/54276), a $70 app from Sunbelt Software. Next time, write the pass- word on a sticky note. (Just kidding.) The Hassle: I need to send CDs filled with sensitive data to coworkers by snail mail. I’m worried about security, so I compress the files and create a password. But this adds a time-consuming step. The Fix: EncryptEase (find.pcworld. com/54280) is a smarter-than-average CD-R with embedded software that automatically compresses, encrypts, and protects files with a password of your choosing, and then burns them onto the disc. You can burn additional files (up to 20 more times) until the disc is full. It’s faster than doing the task your- self, because the software handles the entire process. These puppies aren’t cheap, though—they cost about $6 each. The Hassle: Whenever I output something on my shared printer, an annoying yellow confirmation bubble pops up to tell me the document printed. It won’t go away unless I click on it. Can I turn that option off? The Fix: Some people are always kvetch- ing, but this complaint sounds legit. Head over to the ‘Printers and Faxes’ window, click File•Server Properties, and se lect the Advanced tab. Near the bottom of the dialog box, uncheck Notify when

remote documents are printed.

box, uncheck Notify when remote documents are printed . Contributing Editor Steve Bass writes the Tips

Contributing Editor Steve Bass writes the Tips & Tweaks blog (find.pcworld.com/50264) and is the author of PC Annoyances, pub- lished by O’Reilly (find.pcworld.com/43818). Contact him at hasslefreepc@pcworld.com. To read his previous columns and newslet- ters, go to find.pcworld.com/50268.

TOOL OF THE MONTH Slicker Searching in Outlook GOT MESSAGES YOU know are around but
TOOL OF THE MONTH
Slicker Searching in Outlook
GOT MESSAGES YOU know are around
but can’t find? Use Lookout, a freebie
from, of all companies, Microsoft (down-
load it at find.pcworld.com/54282).
Lookout is quicker to access than sepa-
rate search tools—such as Google Desk-
top Search (find.pcworld.com/49968)—
because it becomes part of Outlook’s
toolbar. For ferreting out e-mail, Look-
out is way faster and smarter than Out-
look’s Find function. For instance, it
pokes into attachments and the content
of PDF files; also, it allows you to search
with wild cards and Boolean expres-
sions, and to restrict searches to just
last week, say, or to attachments only.

O C T O B E R

2 0 0 6

sions, and to restrict searches to just last week, say, or to attachments only. O C

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ILLUSTRATION: BARRY BLITT

DA N T Y N A N
DA N
T Y N A N
ILLUSTRATION: BARRY BLITT DA N T Y N A N Your Home Surveillance Network Security systems
ILLUSTRATION: BARRY BLITT DA N T Y N A N Your Home Surveillance Network Security systems

Your Home Surveillance Network

Security systems can keep an eye on your stuff—but be ready for false alerts.

after years of gadget hoarding, my home office looks like the stock room at an electronics boutique. And while my

wife would dearly love for someone to break in and steal all of my beloved giz- mos, I feel a little more protective. The last time I tried to protect my stuff,

looked at the Shell HomeGenie (see find.pcworld.com/54860), but it was too pricey and complicated. This time

I tried two products that seem to

offer more bang for fewer bucks:

SentinelVision’s SafeScout and WiLife’s LukWerks. These systems use motion sensors, cameras, and the Net to alert you when bad guys come a-prowling. They cost less than traditional surveillance equip- ment and promise easy installation and operation. But for me they proved to be a little more involved.

I

schedule it to turn on or off). I quickly learned to carry the key fob at all times. For $20 a month SafeScout notifies you via e-mail or phone when the alarm is tripped. For another $10 it’ll call the cops for you, and $10 more fetches you an alert whenever the alarm is armed or dis-

armed. Unfortunately, it called me even when I turned the alarm on or off. With a

First I had to tweak my firewall settings so my PC could find the camera. Then I suction-cupped the camera to a window overlooking my porch, and told the soft- ware to send video alerts to my inbox and text messages to my cell. LukWerks pro- ceeded to pummel me with alerts. I got 85 phone alerts in 45 minutes, all false. LukWerks sent me so much e-mail that Gmail declared me a spammer and temporarily shuttered my account. Turns out LukWerks occasionally mistakes changes in light for mo- tion, says WiLife CTO Grant Beck- man; my porch’s gently flickering party lights convinced the camera that there was indeed a party going on. It relaxed after I cranked down the camera’s motion sensitivity and defined zones where the camera should look for movement. LukWerks has some nifty fea- tures, though: You can display six cameras at once ($230 each), watch them from anywhere via the Web, or search through video archives. Software that limits the frequency

of e-mail alerts should be available now. For the same initial outlay, LukWerks offers a lot more than SafeScout—with no monthly fees. This level of video sur- veillance from a firm like ADT would cost you $2000 for a single camera, plus $20 to $40 per month for the service. You could do worse than hire Luk- Werks to protect a small business or to guard your gear. Then again, maybe it’s

time to have a garage sale instead.

again, maybe it’s time to have a garage sale instead. Contributing Editor Dan Tynan is the

Contributing Editor Dan Tynan is the author of Computer Privacy Annoyances (O’Reilly Media, 2005). You can send him e-mail at gadgetfreak@pcworld.com.

2005). You can send him e-mail at gadgetfreak@pcworld.com. little tweaking (and tech support) I got SafeScout

little tweaking (and tech support) I got SafeScout to stop harassing me. Even so, $299 and $20 to $40 a month seems pric- ey for what’s essentially a burglar alarm.

LUK WARM

then i installed WiLife’s LukWerks starter kit ($300 list, www.wilife.com), which uses a power-line network and your PC. Affix the kit’s motion sensor/camera to a wall or window, and plug it into an AC power outlet. Plug its receiver into anoth- er AC outlet, and connect it to your PC’s USB port. Install the software, and voilà— instant home surveillance system. Except the setup proved a mite trickier.

OVERLY ALARMING

you can place SafeScout ($299 list, www.sentinelvision.com) vir- tually anywhere because it doesn’t require a PC. This Gamecube-size

gizmo features a numeric keypad on top, and a camera and motion detector in front. Normally you’d install it in a vaca- tion home or train it on an expensive piece of gear, like a boat. For my tests, I put it on a table in the family room to see how it handled lots of “intruders” in a short time. I plugged it into an AC outlet and a phone jack, and plugged a separate radio-controlled siren in another room. Step within range of its motion detec- tor, and it snaps five photos, captures 20 seconds of audio, and kicks off a siren, which sounds eerily like a death-ray gun from a fifties sci-fi flick. To disarm it, use

a key fob or punch in a code (you can’t

O C T O B E R

2 0 0 6

sci-fi flick. To disarm it, use a key fob or punch in a code (you can’t

47

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DE SIGNHEADCASE

ILLUSTRATION:

BUGS & FIXES

S T U A R T

J .

J O H N S TO N

Hackers’ Latest Office Target Is PowerPoint

Plus: A critical Flash vulnerability, and a recall of overheating JumpDrives.

a few months ago it was

Microsoft Word. Last month it was Excel. Now PowerPoint is under attack through a criti- cal hole. Why so many Office flaws so quickly? Part of the reason is that “black hat” hackers now have cracking tools called “fuzzers” that can automatically run through thousands of combi- nations of programming calls to find the one (or the dozens) that will crash a program. Such holes fetch good money from valid security firms that pay bounties, as well as from the Internet black market. In addition, new vulnerabil- ities are cropping up at a faster rate in popular applications, such as Web browsers and media players, than in Win- dows, a fact not lost on crack- ers. When they find a new hole in Office, for example, they can mix-and-match an ex- ploit that hits it with existing viruses and other malware

for a quick attack that strikes before a patch appears—a bit like adding the latest targeting system to an existing missile. Attackers did just that with the PowerPoint hole, which affects versions 2000, 2002,

with the PowerPoint hole, which affects versions 2000, 2002, Inspired hackers find additional dangerous Office holes.

Inspired hackers find additional dangerous Office holes.

and 2003. As with the other Office flaws mentioned here, if you open a poisoned file from a Web site or an e-mail attachment, an attacker can take control of your PC. By the time you read this, Micro- soft should have devised a patch for the vulnerability and

CRITICAL FLASH PLAYER BUG FIX ADOBE JUST PATCHED a critical bug in its incredibly popular
CRITICAL FLASH PLAYER BUG FIX
ADOBE JUST PATCHED a critical bug in its incredibly popular
Macromedia Flash Player. Exploitation of the flaw could leave
your PC completely compromised via memory corruption, ac-
cording to security researcher Fortinet. When you visit a Web
site that contains a Flash movie (an .swf file), Flash Player auto-
matically loads on your PC and plays the file.
All you’d have to do to get hit is visit a booby-trapped site.
Once you were there, the file would play with no additional click
from you. Versions 8.0.24 and earlier are at risk, according to
Fortinet. Don’t put off getting Adobe’s updated release, version
9.0.16, from find.pcworld.com/54876.
sent it via Automatic Updates. For further details, go to find. IN BRIEF pcworld.com/54872. OpenOffice
sent it via Automatic Updates.
For further details, go to find.
IN BRIEF
pcworld.com/54872.
OpenOffice Patched
The new PowerPoint hole is
much like the Excel holes that
I discussed last month, which
the last set of Automatic Up-
dates corrected. You can get
the Excel fixes and more info
at find.pcworld.com/54874.
A second Offi ce patch, also
sent via Automatic Updates,
eliminates three other holes
in the major apps of Office
2000 through 2003. The risk
is rated critical only for Office
2000, and important for other
Office versions. The difference,
however, is just that you get a
minimal pop-up warning if
you try to open a poisoned file,
so get the update regardless of
your version. More details are
at find.pcworld.com/54873.
Finally, Microsoft has fixed
two critical holes involving the
way both Office and Works
handle the display of certain
image formats—specifically,
Portable Network Graphics
(PNG) and Graphics Inter-
change Format (GIF). No at-
tacks occurred prior to Micro-
soft’s release of the patch; and
again, the patch is critical only
for Office 2000. You can get it
via Automatic Updates or at
OFFICE APPS OF all types
are feeling the pain: Open-
Office.org has just patched
three critical bugs in its free
competitor to Microsoft Of-
fice. All three holes were dis-
covered by internal audits of
OpenOffice, and none have
resulted in active attacks,
the organization says. Open-
Office.org 1.1.x and 2.0.x are
at risk. Get version 1.1.5 or
later, or version 2.0.3 or later,
at download.openoffice.org.
JumpDrive Recall
LEXAR IS RECALLING
66,000 flash drives—among
them all models of its Jump-
Drive FireFly, with 256KB to
2GB of memory, as well as
its 1GB Secure II drives—due
to a risk of overheating. No
incidents or injuries have
been reported. The affected
flash drives were sold dur-
ing April and May of 2006.
To exchange a questionable
unit for an updated, problem-
free one, contact Lexar at
www.lexar.com/jdrecall.
BUGGED?
find.pcworld.com/54875.
Stuart J. Johnston is a contrib-
uting editor for PC World. Visit
find.pcworld.com/31580 to see
more Bugs and Fixes columns.
FOUND A HARDWARE or
software bug? Tell us about
it by sending an e-mail mes-
sage to bugs@pcworld.com.
O C T O B E R
2 0 0 6
WWW.PCWORLD.COM
51

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